After binge watching hours upon hours of the 2016 Rio Olympics, you might be inspired to start training like an Olympian. But before you go crazy with ramped up mileage, double weights, and an extra dose of soreness, Happy Muscles Blog is here to help you learn how to recover like an Olympian!
What is a Muscle Knot?
First, a little background into your muscles and muscle knots.
Each muscle is composed of thousands up on thousands of muscle fibers all contracting and releasing to cause movement. When you decide to run 24 miles when you’ve never run more than 3 miles, the muscle fibers become overstimulated and form “muscle knots” (also known as trigger points). These little muscle fibers contract so tightly that they forget how to relax. When they hold that contraction, they cut off blood and oxygen to the area, which allows waste products to accumulate and you to experience pain. ***
A blog powered by Tiger Tail USA has to hit the first essential step to muscle recovery and relief…muscle massage!
One of the keys to relieving muscle pain due to muscle knots is helping return blood and oxygen to the contracted muscle fibers. When you start rubbing a muscle knot, you get the muscle fibers to relax. This allows blood, and oxygen, to circulate freely to the muscle area. Plus, the muscle knot won’t be causing joint pain by yanking your bones this way and that.
To treat and prevent muscle knots like an Olympian, grab a Classic Tiger Tail (or other muscle massage tool of choice) before your workout and do a pre-workout roll down. Make sure to hit every muscle group you plan to exercise for about 10-20 seconds. This warm-up will help stretch your muscles plus warm them up for tip-top performance!
Then, post-workout, do a more focused muscle massage. If you find any muscle knots, apply 10 seconds of firm, constant, focused strokes, for three sets. You want to apply enough pressure to get a “good hurt” or a 5-7 on a scale from 1-10.
Channel Your Inner Camel
Hydration is a crucial part of your recovery plan. Surprise! 75% of muscle tissue is composed of water. It’s not hard to imagine why hydration is important to muscle health (and happiness).
Countless metabolic processes use water too. When your muscles need the energy to repair or protein to build new muscle fibers, they depend on these water-based metabolic processes.
Simply said, without enough water, you simply won’t be able to repair and build muscle effectively. And before you go reaching for electrolyte drinks, read this article. Water and a quick, nutrient-dense snack, might be a better option to replace electrolytes.
Get Enough Zzz’s
Sleep is crucial for muscle recovery in athlete’s (and important for the average joe too). You should be aiming for 8-10 hours of sleep every night to optimize recovery.
When you sleep, your body circulates more human growth hormone, testosterone, and melatonin, all three of which play a huge role in the regeneration of cells in your body. If you’re out pushing yourself like an Olympian, you need to sleep like an Olympian to restore the damage done to your muscles.
If you’re unable to get the recommended dose of sleep at night, enjoy a cat nap (even the fiercest of predators need their sleep). Many Olympians swear by naps!
So now that you have the tools you need to keep your muscles happy and performing at their best, get inspired and start training like an Olympian!
***P.S. If you want to learn more about muscle knots and how massage can help, check out the Tiger Tail USA Happy Muscles Self-Help Guide!